The Academy is part of the University of Brighton Academies Trust, a multi academy trust which is sponsored by the University of Brighton.

The trust’s Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the educational and financial performance of all of the academies in the trust; the trustees are the statutory governors of each academy and the company directors & charitable trustees of the University of Brighton Academies Trust.

Further information about the University of Brighton Academies Trust’s governance arrangements, including its Board of Trustees, Scheme of Delegation, Articles of Association and Funding Agreement, are available on the trust’s website.

A series of committees, including a Local Board for each academy (or group of academies), supports the Board of Trustees in fulfilling its responsibilities.

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The Local Board

Local Board members are volunteers representing different aspects of the academy community including parents/carers, staff and local people. The members contribute to the academy’s vision and future strategy, ensuring they complement the trust’s vision and values. They are responsible for keeping the academy at the heart of the community, maintaining strong community links and effective communication with all stakeholders, including the Board of Trustees. Local Board members ensure the celebration of staff, pupils and parents and carers is a priority to the academy. They are also responsible for monitoring pupil wellbeing, admissions, complaints and concerns.

Local Board members can be contacted through email at or in writing c/o the Academy. Local Board meeting minutes are available on request.

The local board at Blackthorns is here to strengthen the Academy’s strategic leadership by:-

  • Overseeing, challenging and supporting Mrs Brand and Blackthorns’ senior management team to continuously improve quality of teaching
  • Promoting Blackthorns’ continual improvement by helping to set and implement the highest educational standards for our children
  • Overseeing the solvency & probity of the financial management of the school
  • Assuring that school statutory duties are met & priorities are identified, approved & delivered
  • Engaging and communicating with key stakeholders in the school
  • Ensuring the effective use of pupil premium & other resources to overcome barriers to learning

Who we are

Our Local Board is made up of people from different groups within our community, including parents, teachers and people from business backgrounds and the local community.

We give direction and focus to life at Blackthorns by performing a vital strategic role as a committee of the University of Brighton Academies Trust Board of Directors. The day-to-day management of Blackthorns is the responsibility of Mrs Brand and her staff. The values and vision for leading our school are shared between the Trust, the local board, Mrs Brand and senior leadership team.

Contact the Local Board

If you have any concerns, issues or comments you wish to raise with the Local Board, please email them to :-

Meet the Local Board Members

Jacqui Reid

Mike Nichols

Marianne Brand

Tom Jordan

Cate Jago

Simon Moffatt

Paul Ramsbottom

Andrea Evans

Katie Watson

Michael Alete

Julie Keylock

Role Local Board Member Background
Co-opted Member
Jacqui Reid

Jacqui has been a member of the local board since May 2011 and was elected to Chair in 2015. She has three boys at Blackthorns and lives locally within Lindfield.

Jacqui works in the City as a corporate lawyer. She has over 15 years’ experience in advising trusts and corporates in relation to pensions, employment and trust law matters and brings this expertise into various aspects of school leadership, most notably in relation to HR, procurement , finance and governance related matters.

Vice Chair
Co-opted Member
Mike Nichols

Mike was elected onto the local board in September 1998 when his daughter attended the school. His working career was spent in IT in the City and he has used his considerable expertise in this area to support and advise the school on many aspects of IT provision and procurement matters.

Mike was chair and then co-chair of the local board until 2015. He was a founding member of the Executive Board of the Mid-Sussex Schools Community Interest Company, an organisation that formalises collaborative projects by schools in the locality particularly in relation to all types of special educational needs.

Co-opted Member Simon Moffatt

Simon is a Partner of Vail Williams LLP and based in Dover Street London and heads up their Business Rates mitigation team. Simon is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (“FRICS”) in addition to numerous other professional accolades and associations which bring invaluable expertise to benefit the school.

Simon assisted in the advice and installation of the Solar PV system, (on the roof of the school) and assists the Head & Building Manager in independently assessing the school’s annual H &S Risk Assessment to ensure the school’s health and safety policy for the protection to the pupils is to the highest standard.

Simon has been a member of the local board since 2006.

Co-opted Member Paul Ramsbottom

Paul is Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation one of the country’s largest educational charities. He is a CCB Fellow of the University of Oxford and takes a wider interest in issues relating to charities and philanthropy in the UK as a speaker and writer. He is also Chairman of the Savannah Education Trust, a small international development charity working in primary education in West Africa. He has four daughters, three of whom are currently at Blackthorns.

Co-opted Member Andrea Evans

Andrea is a Chartered Accountant who trained with Deloitte in the City before moving into the insurance industry. Having spent 18 years working for RSA Insurance in a variety of Corporate Centre financial reporting and finance systems roles, she now works in Brighton for Bupa Global as their Solvency II Finance Lead. She has one son currently at Blackthorns and a daughter due to start school in September 2017.

Co-opted Member Katherine Watson

Katie joined the local board in 2016. She has two sons at Blackthorns and lives in Lindfield. Katie works for KPMG in the corporate tax department, currently specialising in the Public Sector. She has over 10 years post qualification experience and has worked in audit, small business accounting as well as large corporate tax compliance.

Co-opted Member Michael Alete

Michael is a Chartered Architect and member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Michael has designed and delivered a number of education projects at primary, secondary and university institutions and has a keen interest in the impact of architecture on learning environments.

Michael currently sits on the Mid Sussex District Council Design Review Panel and is part of the RIBA programme to mentor undergraduate architecture students.

Michael lives locally and has two children at Blackthorns.

Co-opted Member Tom Jordan


Elected staff Cate Jago

Cate was a staff Governor at Canonbury School and on the curriculum committee. She has been a teacher for 7 years and been through 6 Ofsted inspections.

Subsequent to choosing this profession Cate worked in music journalism and also as a business manager and instructor for London Scuba. Cate feels her 'past lives' serve her well in having a broad range of interests to share with children.

Ex-officio Marianne Brand


Elected parent Julie Keylock

Julie has three sons currently at Blackthorns and is passionate about supporting the school to provide the best education possible for all the children. Julie is a Senior HR Professional who holds a Masters Degree in HR Management and graduate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, later becoming a Fellow. She has over 15 years HR experience, advising on employment law, performance management, absence management, employee relations and employee well-being. Her experience was primarily gained working for Price Waterhouse, the NHS and the Police Service and she has recently set up her own freelance HR consultancy.

Clerk Avril Caleb

What do we do?

The core responsibilities of the Local Board are:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • Overseeing the educational performance of the academy and its pupils.
  • Developing partnerships ensuring the academy works effectively with key stakeholders and partners;
  • Ensure that the academy has strong local links and is at the heart of the community.

How to become a Local Board Member

We always need people who:

  • care about and are committed to our children’s learning and well-being;
  • are keen to help all children in our school make progress;
  • want to make an important contribution to our local community;
  • enjoy a challenging but rewarding role
    There are no qualifications, either academic or otherwise, needed to become a Local Board Member. Local Board Members have to be over 18 years of age. A Board Member must be a good listener, and someone who is able to read and assimilate information easily. You must be able to:
  • raise questions and participate in discussion and decision making;
  • be discrete, open-minded and fair;
  • be a source of ideas and a good communicator;
  • be enthusiastic about the work of the school; and
  • be prepared to participate in its life.

If you are interested in becoming a Local Board Member, please contact the school office or email Jacqui Reid at:

Terms of reference 2018-2019

Register of Business Interests 2018-2019

Attendance and Membership 2017-2018